Speaking about luxury with Pamela Peeters – Environmental Economist and Sustainability Strategist

Pamela consults companies and personalities towards sustainable business development and leadership enhancement. She lectures internationally as a sustainability personality.

Pamela Peeters grew up in the country side of Belgium. She launched her first environmental magazinegrab the green – at the age of 12. Pamela obtained a first Master degree in Economics in 1995 and researched through her thesis on how nations can change consumption and production patterns towards sustainable levels.

She obtained another Master in Environmental Management in 1997 and wrote a second thesis on the creation of indicators that could be used by urban policy makers in their development plans towards sustainable city transitions.
She obtained a distinction for both of her contributions. Thanks to the successfulcompletion of an additional course in Psychology,she became an Eco Consultant from the French University in Brussels and continued researching on sustainable business applications in international emerging markets during various assignments.

In 1997 she developed a reorganization program for a management federation of the Flemish government and created strategies that would open up their business opportunities in the sustainable development market. She prepared the state visit of the Prince of Belgium to India in 1998 while identifying bilateral trade opportunities in the environmental techno-logy sector. Later that year, she joined a Brussels PR company where she managed various international accounts – such as the green SMART city car – for whom she did their market introduction.

Driven by the desire to solely dedicate her time to mainstream sustainable development, she moved to the USA in 1999 and completed a research fellowship at Columbia University where she drafted the design of the first TV show that promoted Sustainable lifestyles.

The “OUR PLANET” lifestyle television series got launched in 2001 and she has since then produced and hosted more than 200 episodes. She launched a second TV format – “STYLING THE NEW WORLD” – in 2003, which introduced European companies to the American market. In 2005 she joined the marketing team of the US partnerships for the UNESCO decade for Sustainable Development and launched the Sustainable Planet film festival later on that year.

The festival is currently produced in four countries and more countries are joining shortly.
Her first book URBAN ECOLOGY got published in 2007 and later that year she developed the online Sustainable Styles magazine.

Her first children’s book called ECO HERO is in pre-production and an EthicalFashion television series is in development.She was recently honored with the Crystal Environment Award during the World Environment Summit in Bahrain.

What means luxury to you in one word?


What are your models or fundamentals in life which you will recommend to others?

My model – my “modus operandi” – is to start the morning simply being grateful for a brand new day while expressing gratitude for the abundance I have in my life. I live according to the principle that life is a magical gift – a luxurious gift so to say – and that approach transforms your attitude towards everything you engage with. As an environmental economist I am specialized in sustainable development, which is a lifestyle that says “yes” to economic expansion but with the integration of environmental care and preservation principles as well as the nurturing of our global community. The adoption of these tools will allow us to live with an expanded consciousness and an enhanced appreciation for life, quite the luxurious experience indeed!

Sustainable development is seen as a luxury by some and a necessity by others .. to me, it is simply the bridge that will lead us from an old paradigm to a new one .. one that is a return to quality, with the integration of a longer investment/consumer/producer horizon, and enhanced technological solutions, as we will have to do more with less…
To this respect, the luxurious market is a sustainable market as the products are made in such a fashion that they are passed on from one generation to another…and this market can become even more sustainable if they apply the triple bottom line in their production process and management.

Through my work as a forecaster, a sustainability strategist and a public speaker, I therefore convince people to explore the untapped potential in their companies, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity , while – often – reducing costs. I also create and produce original media products and services that aims to mainstream sustainable lifestyles.

Some examples are the “Our Planet” tv series, the “Urban Ecology” book, the “ECO HERO” project for children, the “Sustainable Planet” film festival, now turning into a documentary filmed in 12 countries. People tell me I am lucky, but my career has been an ongoing combined effort of passion, talent, hard work
and original thinking .. with a never ending factor of devotion to really make a difference in people’s life. To this respect, I can conclude there is a parallel between my fundamentals and the model that designers from the luxury market are applying.

What is your criteria for luxury in order of preference?

The first important criteria is that it has to look good.. the product has to excite me, move me in a certain way and this by its shape, intrinsic value,functionality, aura and overall beauty. There has to be a magic current, that offers me the promise that that item and myself are going to create some fabulous stories together, globally.

What is your favorite luxury brand(s) and why?

I would like to say apparel and quote some fashion brands such as our Belgian designer Diane von Furstenberg, or British Stella Mc Cartney (did you know she makes shoes suitable for vegetarians?), as I love fashion, or perfume, as I never leave home without it … but I will say Cartier, as I received a Cartier watch from my mother over a decade ago. I simply love it, as – through this elegant reminder – she is always with me. I feel naked without it.

Name 5 luxuries which are “indispensable” for you and why:

I lead a very busy life, so for me an “indispensable luxury” is to spend some time withmyself.. quality time that is, which can result in reading a good book,going for a walk in Central Park, swimming a mile, or doing meditation ..
Another luxury is time with friends and share a good meal together in a special place. A third luxury is travel the world and explore different cultures, with all the unknown waiting to be discovered. It is thereforethat I am thrilled to direct and produce the Sustainable Planet documentary in 12 countries. .. Another indispensable luxury for me, is my I-phone, it is my mobile office so to speak … email, text, Skype, facebook, research and phone all in one…I literally hold the world in my palm ..

Last, I have to admit that I love my Smython’s agenda, it’s a skye blue one, a gift from my aunt while going shopping together in London. Every time I write something on these blue pages, I am reminded of the entire trip, which was simply fantastic. As a conclusion I would like to say that “happiness” is the most important luxury of all .. because with all the goods in the world, if you are not happy, then you missed out on the most important asset that life has to offer you.

Digital and Luxury. Love or Hate? What means “digital” for you ?

I do not hate, it is a strange word, very extreme, often caused by ignorance. Being a media producer puts me in the first position to know where media is evolving to.. and that is digital.. so for me it is LOVE! digital to me therefore represents the future of possibilities, as we can link the entire world together in a couple of clicks … It is something the luxury market should explore more.

How will be luxury in the future?

Luxury is about comfort, class and style and the luxurious experience of the future will improve even more, thanks to technological advancements.. AND … doing good. Brands like GUCCI – the Queen of Luxury Goods – understand this and have the monetary fuel to do this thanks to their loyal consumer base. To this respect, we can only think of PPR, the group that also owns GUCCI – who brought the funds together to create the fabulous film HOME, a film made by Yann Arthus Bertrand about Planet Earth. The film impacted millions of people around the world to see Mother Earth as an entity to pay attention to and to treat with care, just like you would treat your luxurious brand … as it is the most precious asset we have. At the end of the day, we only have one planet.. I would like to see more luxurious brands do the same: use the revenue stream of loyal customers, not only to maintain and expand their brand, but to also impact the lives of their customers for the better. A fabulous initiative.